Monday, April 03, 2006

Smart Bitches Day

It's Monday and it's Smart Bitches Day - Hoorah!! Kiss a Smart Bitch Today, but be sure to duck because we hit back for that kind of forward behavior.

The very last of my Laura Kinsale books arrived this morning!! So everything is here, I have a bookshelf full of new romances to read, and life is sweet.

I began to read Kinsale's For My Lady's Heart a few days ago. I'm up to page 70. This story is...is...really hard!! The dialogue is written in the "Olde Worlde" medieval English, and it gets very confusing in many areas. I'm still kind of skimming because every other paragraph I'm like "I'll have to think about a bit more...later" but I'm worried I may have to start all over again because I've really missed something. We have Melanthe, our heroine, who is a princess, very rich and suspected of being a witch and having killed her brother and husband and is pursued by a few different men who want to have control of her money and land. It's all gossip though, and she's not so keen on any of them. She has an escort named Allegreto, who is an assassin, kind of pervy in his devotions to Melanthe and the bastard son of one of the guys who wants to marry her.

Now, one some page, there's a paragraph where Allegreto thinks about the sacrifices he was forced to make by his father, in order to be Melanthe's escort...he doesn't say what those were, but I had the idea that his Daddy neutered him so he wouldn't dally with his intended booty - although there's a lot of touching, and hair combing and flirtations that makes you feel icky inside. Kind of explains why he's so bitter.

The book that arrived this morning is Shadowheart is a romance starring Allegreto as the dashing hero. So I'm thinking I got that interpretation wrong. I am only 70 pages in, I mean it wouldn't be too much hassle to re-read for clarity's sake, right? But I don't normally do that - if a book confuses me so much that by this point I'm still unsure about where it's headed then I put it down. But I can't really do that with this book. For the love of Beth, I'll carry on. I'll accept it as my own failing, and simple mindedness due to constant interruption from short people and CSI New York. I'll have a dictionary nearby so that when I come to a word I don't know, I can look it up - even though my vocabulary isn't lacking any. For Beth. And for the fact that Laura Kinsale said she'd pound on anyone who dissed her books. *nervous laugh*

I know I'm being a bit lazy, I should be excited to find a writer who challenges me. I'm hoping to become as ensorcelled as Beth and the other million fans who've become ensorcelled. I'm also hoping I end up liking the hero, Ruck. Poor guy, his wife goes and becomes all devoted to religion and joins a convent, but they're still bound by their marriage vows. She used to yell at him about how sinful he was to want to have sex with her. I always though it was religion that said "Go forth and multiply" so what kind of weirdo is she to think she should be chaste in marriage and waggle her finger at poor Ruck? He's just too soft I figure...even though he becomes a knight, and is really, really tough; he jousts and everything. He's called a beserker. I think with all that pent up frustration he would be fairly aggressive.

So anyways...I'm getting there. One paragraph at a time. I'll get it soon enough, I mean, I was able to read Buddah Da after a breaking in period. That's all this one needs...a breaking in period. Yeah. And no more CSI while reading; such a bad habit.

now...completely unrelated; Shortie slept through the whole night, pacifier free!! Hooray!

***Edit - I've been feeling guilty about being stunted by this book. I've been looking at some reviews for it, found out it was finalist in a book award, and other people agree the language stumped them too - but that they got used to it and learned to love it. I also found out that this book has been re-released with a glossary for half-wits and lazy folks like me. Poor me though, I have an original copy.

AND - I found the bit that made me think Allegreto was knackered. Page 38:

Melanthe returned his salute with an affectionate smile. "I will not have Lancaster at any price -but Allegreto, my love- when thou dost write to thy father, tell Gian that in truth, thou art such a tender gentle boy, there are moments I should rather take thee to husband in his stead."
Allegreto's face did not change. He maintained the pleasant curve of his lips, his dark eyes fathomless. "I would not be so foolish, my lady. That price has been indeed paid already."
Melanthe turned her face. She shamed herself even to taunt Allegreto with it. What Gian Navona had taken of his bastard son, to be certain Allegreto would sleep chastely in Melanthe's bedchamber was beyond cost or pity.

Ok...so what would you think that he took to ensure his son didn't shag her and often?? I don't think I was too left of field to make that assumption. I've peeked ahead into the ShadowHeart book where Allegreto does some seed burying to prove my mistake. *shrug* I aplogise for spelling errors or missed words...I have a busy house at the Moment.

5 comments:

NWJR said...

"It's Monday and it's Smart Bitches Day - Hoorah!! Kiss a Smart Bitch Today, but be sure to duck because we hit back for that kind of forward behavior."

I've found that it often depends on WHERE you try to kiss her. But then, discretion was never in my personal dictionary!

:-)

Suisan said...

Here. Wait. Don't try to figure out Alegretto too much.

PLEASE!!!

Take my word on this.

Is he an assassin? Is he a eunuch? Is he working for his Father or for Melanthe? Is he male? Is he female? Is he Italian? Is he Catholic? French?

Don't kill yourself trying to figure this out.

No character knows anyone else's motivations in this book--and the reader doesn't either for a good part of it.

(And if FMLH gets too difficult to read, you can enjoy Shadowheart without it--but I think you understand Alegretto better in Shadowheart if you've got FMLH under your belt.)

Maja said...

Well, I'm confused!

Beth said...

Yeah what Suisan said. And also? You gotta stop reading ahead to Shadowheart - not just because SPOILERS ARE EVIL, but because it's totally confusing you and the lingo is confusing enough.

If it helps to know? I hated this book the first time I read it. It made me feel stupid. It was too much WORK. I gave up about halfway through, skimmed the rest, and ended it thinking "whatever, what a lot of effort for just a romance novel, GAH." Then years later I decided to re-read since I couldn't remember anything much about it (except the difficulty), and I fell right into it.

Here's my tips for getting through:

1. Only the dialogue is in Middle English(esque). The narrative is modern everyday English, so glean as much as you can there.

2. The dialogue is all in the rhythm. If you can catch the rhythm of it, you'll start to understand. It's also helpful if you just start talking like it in your head. Like "I mun hie myseluen to yon kitchen for to washen the thrice accursed dishes, yo."

3. If you don't know a word, dude just totally email me. Are you kidding? I LIVE for this shit, man.

Ne do naught despair, fair Lyvvie! If a runisch one like myseluen canst read it, well then so can you. Thee, I mean. Whatever.

aughra said...

NWJR is right - it's all about where you kiss em.

Don't know what to say about the book. Don't really care for genre fiction.

But I do care for smart bitches.